UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA FOUNDATION

Honorary winemasters

While our honorary winemasters take unique approaches to their life’s work, these go-getters certainly have two things in common: a love of winemaking and a commitment to giving back. Not content to focus solely on creating the finest wines, they look beyond their vineyards, discovering and meeting the needs of their communities. That’s why we feel so honored to welcome these gumptious  winemakers and devoted do-gooders to WineFest No. 22—A Toast to Children’s Health.

WineFest No. 22 honorary winemasters

Scot Bilbro, Owner, Winemaker, and General Manager, Marietta Cellars
Fourth-generation winemaker Scot Bilbro joined Marietta Cellars, the family business, after earning his degree in viticulture and enology at the University of California Davis. It was a perfect blend: his technical training and his father’s 30 years of instinct and experience. Today as always, Scot says, his family strives to make the best possible wine at the best possible price.

Chris Kenefick, Principal, Kenefick Ranch
Long interested in viticulture and impressed by his family’s sophisticated wines, Chris Kenefick left his hospitality career last year to follow his passion for wine. Today he enjoys working in national sales for the winery and credits his father, Tom Kenefick, M.D., for bringing the entire family together. “It’s been a labor of love for many years.”

Steve Lohr, Chairman and CEO, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines
Steve Lohr combines a big-picture view of the wine industry with a hands-on work ethic that started when he was just a kid helping his father, Jerry, plant their first vineyards. Today Steve works locally, nationally, and internationally on behalf of his family’s winery and the broader wine industry.

Niccolo Maltinti, U.S. Brand Ambassador, Antinori
In 1385, Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the “Arte Fiorentina,” the Winemakers’ Guild of Florence. Ever since, the Antinori family has produced wine. Fast-forward to 2011 when Niccolo Maltinti joined Marchesi Antinori as U.S. commercial director and brand ambassador. Today he represents Antinori with the trade and oversight of strategic planning and sales execution in the U.S.

Carlo Mondavi, Winemakers, Raen
Carlo Mondavi, a fourth-generation vintner, began his career at Robert Mondavi Winery and Opus One. He then joined his father and grandfather—whom Carlo calls his greatest teachers—and his aunt to start Continuum Estate. Today he oversees a number of Continuum’s markets. Plus, he and brother Dante produce pinot noir from the Sonoma Coast for their own winery, RAEN.

Justin Seidenfeld, Winemaker,  Rodney Strong
Having earned his degree in viticulture and enology at the University of California Davis, Justin Seidenfeld first landed at the venerable Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley. Soon, he was supervising winemaking for Estancia, Clos du Bois, and Simi. Today Justin serves as winemaker for Rodney Strong Vineyards, the iconic Sonoma County winery founded in 1959.

Rui Ribeiro, Marketing Manager, Symington Family Estates
Rui Ribeiro fell in love with wine and the Douro Valley, a Portuguese wine region, as a University of Minnesota student. After earning his degree in agronomics, Rui immediately put his skills to work as a winemaker and harvest trainee, and he became determined to educate the world about the area’s wines. Today Rui serves as U.S. market manager at Symington Family Estates.